War & Peace – Sinner & Saint : 20th Sunday
When Jesus says, “I have come for division, not peace,” he’s not giving up on love and forgiveness, and he’s certainly not advocating holy wars. He’s telling us that very often what we call peace is not that at all. Very often what we call peace is just a cover-up, a lie we tell ourselves. True peace is only accomplished through conversion into a true relationship with God and that means something in us must change.
When Jesus speaks so graphically about five against two and two against three, he’s not urging us to go out and stir up NEW troubles or start NEW battles. He’s urging us to face up to the OLD ones, the old conflicts, the old sinfulness that already exist inside us and in our relations with others. He’s urging us to deal with those inner conflicts, and not to hide from them or cover them up anymore. He is telling us we cannot run away from conflict, and that we must address it in ourselves first.
If our friendships and marriages, our families and communities are to live up to our high hopes, and if our life’s work is to be worthy of us, then we have to let the Lord set us on fire with internal courage. With that holy fire strengthening our hearts, there is no part of ourselves that we cannot confront; no sin in us that we cannot face; no failure in us that we cannot deal with.
Sometimes we try to speak the truth to others, but we do it with a heart of war rather than a heart of peace. That’s because we have not made the necessary change in ourselves first. When it comes to addressing conflict, or a crisis, there are basically two options: you can have a heart of peace or a heart of war.
To have a heart of war is to see the person in need of help as inferior, (You know: I have the answer and you don’t sort of thing. I am right and I am going to convince you of that, sort of thing.). When we do that, we are seeing the other person as an object to be corrected or fixed rather than a human being, which is a sure way to perpetuate conflict.
The heart of war suppresses our sense of compassion and urge to truly help; it’s the kind of mindset that creates and perpetuates hate, conflict, and war.
The better option is to have a heart of peace and listen to your sense of compassion – to see those around you as human beings. This is what a heart of peace looks like: you choose compassion and treat others as human beings, daughters and sons of God, burdened by their own fears and desires. The one thing that all of us have in common as humans is that we are all sinners, we are all imperfect, and to some degree, we are all broken. A heart of peace speaks from this common place of brokenness, centered in the peace of God.
With the Holy Spirit strengthening us, there is no person to whom we cannot speak the whole truth because now we can speak it in love from a heart of peace. With God’s help, now we can give the truth as a gift, and not use it as a weapon.
As we learn to speak the truth in love – first inside us, and then outside – and as we accept the challenge first of changing ourselves and then of helping others to change, the peace that God desires for us will slowly come to be.
This is not easy. And sometimes it’s frightening because it does involve conflict and asking ourselves difficult questions. The questions are: Do we lie to ourselves and cover up our faults, our own sinfulness? Are we honest with ourselves? Are we completely honest in our dealings with others? That kind of honesty is the call to conversion, and change, which inevitably causes some conflict, but that kind of honesty within is the hard road to peace, and the only road to peace.
So to have this heart of peace we must at first be at peace with ourselves, our sinfulness, our brokenness and our pain. Peace depends most fully, not on the peace we seek or the wars we wage without, but on the peace, we establish within. Our parish mission is designed to help you with that, August 19th and 20th. The mission is called the 99. I encourage you to sign up today. Here is a brief video about that.
Watch Video https://youtu.be/r5pJS9ZzCXg
After Video: I don’t know about you, but I want to make that transformation in myself. Don’t you? We want to help you on your journey from sinner to saint, to come to grips with your inner conflict and develop within yourself this heart of peace rooted in Jesus. I encourage you to join us for the 99? That’s our parish mission which starts 6pm August 19th. Please register today. I hope to see you there.